Meet the chinchilla kit born at the Natural History Museum of Utah

Sep 7, 2023, 4:00 PM | Updated: 4:21 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A chinchilla kit was born at the Natural History Museum of Utah, according to an email from the museum. 

The chinchilla kit was born in the museum’s exhibit Wild World: Stories of Conservation and Hope. 

According to the Natural History Museum of Utah’s website, wildlife around the world is struggling due to pollution, deforestation, and habitat encroachment. Intended to provide education about conservation efforts from around the world, museum guests can experience the exhibit until November 5, 2023. 

Guests can participate in multiplayer challenges, interactive elements, and animal encounters while exploring the exhibit. The exhibit is staffed by trained zookeepers and educators, according to the museum website. 

The museum said in its email that “the chinchilla baby’s birth reminds us why conservation is critical to sustain(ing) the diverse ecosystems of our world.” It also said there are only 10,000 domestic long-haired chinchillas left in the wild. 

What is a chinchilla?

Chinchillas are rodents, and there are two types; long-tailed and short-tailed chinchillas. Both types are endangered, according to the Humane Society of the United States. 

Chinchillas are native to the Andes mountains in South America. According to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, they live in rocky, mountainous areas from 9,800 to 16,400 feet. They den in crevices and holes. 

In the wild, the nocturnal rodents live in large social groups. The Smithsonian said they are mostly herbivorous and live on a diet comprised largely of seeds, grass, leaves, roots, lichen, and mosses.

Chinchillas are critically endangered, according to the Maryland Zoo. Hunting and trapping for pelts have caused their endangerment. It is now illegal to hunt them, however, according to the Maryland Zoo, the laws are hard to enforce because chinchillas live in remote areas. 

The Humane Society of the United States urges prospective chinchilla parents to “thoroughly research” proper care of the animals. Furthermore, those interested in having a pet chinchilla should adopt from a shelter.

Pets being sold at pet stores are often subjected to inhumane conditions, onegreenplanet.org said. Purchasing from pet stores supports a negative cycle, the website said, while adopting from a reputable shelter or breeder ensures furthered humane practices. 

The Natural History Museum of Utah wants the public to name the chinchilla kit. Visitors who are interested in submitting a name can comment on the muesum’s Facebook post. According to the post, museum staff will choose the top 10 names and then create a poll. 

Related reading: 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


Endangered Utah butterfly...

Ashley Imlay, KSL.com

Rare Utah butterfly lands on list of species at risk of extinction

A petition to list the Utah butterfly as threatened was submitted to the Fish and Wildlife Service more than 10 years ago.

17 hours ago

Motorists travel under a wildlife crossing bridge spanning I-80 in Parleys Canyon on Tuesday, Oct. ...

Mariah Maynes

Save People Save Wildlife urges creation of wildlife passageway on SR 224

Save People Save Wildlife has urged Park City's council to add a wildlife passageway on S.R. 224 to its 2024 strategic plan. The organization presented its case to the council on February 15. 

6 days ago

Natural Resources...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Utah Division of Natural Resources wants to combine police agencies

The Utah Division of Natural Resources is seeking to combine its four law enforcements agencies into one unit.

7 days ago

A mountain lion first seen on the campus of USU on Tuesday morning later made their way to a nearby...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Mountain lion spotted at USU on Tuesday was found, captured

The mountain lion was first spotted on the USU campus, lounging in a tree near the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

13 days ago

Image of a long-eared owl being cared for at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah in...


LISTEN: Utah’s largest wildlife rehabilitation facility faces uncertain future

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah has to vacate, and only has a few weeks to find new digs.

14 days ago

shed antlers 2024...

Tim Hughes

Antler shed season is open in Utah for 2024

We're one week into the annual shed antler and gathering season in Utah, and it's estimated 20,000 people will participate through mid-April.

19 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Meet the chinchilla kit born at the Natural History Museum of Utah